Thursday, December 31, 2009

How To Kill the Rooney Rule - Part One

"Hey Morocco can I talk to you for a minute?"

Although the 2009 season may not yet technically be over, change is already here for the Washington Redskins. In the past three weeks the team hired its first actual general manager in eleven years under owner Dan Snyder, head coach Jim Zorn is on the way out and every player is already under offseason scrutiny. But before any of this could be set into motion, the team had to satisfy the Rooney Rule, not once but twice. Today Curly R begins a three part series on the practical death of the Rooney Rule at the hands of Dan Snyder.

Part One: The General Manager
Part Two: The Head Coach
Part Three: The Collateral Damage


In the fourth quarter of Sunday nights game fifteen futility versus the Cowboys, NBC's Andrea Kremer reported that the Redskins had hired new actual general manager Bruce Allen in compliance with the expanded Rooney Rule by first interviewing in house candidate director of professional personnel Morocco Brown for the position.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance, the organization charged with policing the application of the Rooney Rule in the NFL, approved of the Redskins' interview with Morocco. Thus, when Dan Snyder went ahead and hired the white guy he could do it with a clear conscience and with no fear of reprisal from the league in the form of fines, loss of draft picks or negative public relations.

But here is the thing, shadow general manager Vinny Cerrato's resignation was announced in the early morning of Thursday 17 December 2009, and Bruce Allen's hiring was announced barely two hours later.

That means unless Dan Snyder has a box flooded with argon stashed in a storage unit that he would not have been able to accept Vinny's resignation, interview both Morocco Brown and Bruce Allen, deliberate on the matter, decide to hire Bruce, negotiate a contract between the two parties then arrange a press conference to announce Bruce's hiring given the existing timeline.

Which means the interview with Morocco happened before the general manager position was open.

We also know the Fritz Pollard Alliance and the NFL consider the Bruce Allen hire compliant with the Rooney Rule.

Ipso facto a pre emptive interview for the general manager position can be considered compliant with the Rooney Rule.

Why does this matter? Because a secret pre emptive sham interview to satisfy the Rule would permit a marketing man like Dan Snyder to move smoothly through the fire and hire process without missing a beat and without having to withstand any public scrutiny or media pressure surrounding who the compliant minority candidate would be, whether he was qualified and whether the public pre judged the whole process a sham. Think days or weeks of headlines, even into the A section of the Washington Post.

Now here we are post judging it a virtual sham but what is done is done, the pressure Dan will face now that the deal is done pales in comparison to anything he would have faced as he slowly plodded his way over days or weeks from a Vinny Cerrato resignation to a public accounting of candidates to interviews to media speculation and rumors of backroom deals to final announcements and aftermath. This way there was barely a headline and it was over in one day.

In any event, this was a pretty big reveal. And it was not the only one Andrea Kremer brought to us Sunday night. The other was about the head coach position.

How To Kill the Rooney Rule continues tomorrow with Part Two, The Head Coach.

Dan Snyder: Uncredited image from here via here.